The Externalisation of EU Migration Policies in Light of EU Constitutional Principles and Values: Reconciling the Irreconcilable? An Introduction to the Special Section

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Abstract: In recent years, the European Union (EU) has substantially intensified its activities directed at externalising border/migration management towards the territories of third countries. This specific model of EU migration management is often realized at the expense of democratic scrutiny, judicial supervision, transparency and, most importantly, the protection of human rights. It also entails unprecedented challenges for the legitimacy of the EU in its international projection. Currently, EU cooperation with third countries appears focused on advancing EU's own interests and thus subordinated to the objectives of alleviating pressure on its external borders and reception capacities. Such EU action purports to prevent, as close as possible to the point of departure, irregular arrivals to EU Member States' territories, to ensure effective returns/readmission and to transfer the burden of protection responsibilities. This Special Section, composed of five contributions, aims to assess the implications of the externalisation of EU migration policies for the EU constitutional principles and values, and to take stock of the latest developments in different concrete policy areas. Particular attention is devoted to analyzing compliance of externalisation practices with the requirements imposed by the EU constitutional framework, specifically with the principles and values that should guide Union's external conduct in this area of law.

Keywords: EU migration and asylum policy – externalisation – EU constitutional values and principles – human rights of migrants and asylum seekers – European Border and Coast Guard Agency – EU external action.

European Papers, Vol. 8, 2023, No 2, pp. 901-904
ISSN 2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/693

* Professor of Public International Law and European Law, University of Salamanca,
** Associate Professor of Public International Law and European Law, Universidad Pontificia Comillas.
*** Legal research officer, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (Vienna),


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